Oil and gas spills are devastating events that have a long-lasting impact on local wildlife, plant life, and surrounding bodies of water.
When an oil spill happens, everyone wants to be involved to quickly help stop the spread of toxins in the environment. However, if you’re present at the site of an oil spill, your best chances of helping are to reach out to an environmental service agency like TAS.
Getting involved without experience or proper equipment can be dangerous for your long-term health. Let’s further explain the biggest reasons why you should always avoid physical contact with crude oils in an open environment.
Is Oil Toxic to Humans?
Any chemical that harms living organisms is considered toxic. The oil contains two components that are particularly volatile to the environment and are considered toxic to humans.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) both have immediate and lingering effects that can have a negative impact on your body.
How Can Oil Exposure Affect the Body?
Although experts know that crude oil exposure has adverse effects on the human body, there is still much that is unknown and currently under research. Let’s take a look at what we do know about oil’s potential effects on your health.
VOCs Increase Cancer Risks
VOCs are an immediate threat after a spill. They give an oil that familiar smell it has and quickly evaporate into the air of the surrounding area. Many VOCs are toxic when inhaled and can potentially cause cancer in the long term.
Shortness of breath is one of the most common symptoms found in those exposed to crude oil spills. Exposure has also led to the following respiratory issues:
- Lung irritation
- Chronic coughing
- Chest pains
Crude oil can also take a toll on your skin. Skin contact can result in the following issues that can worsen when exposed to the sunlight:
- Skin reddening
Other Exposure Problems
Researchers studying the long-term effects of oil spills on communities in the Amazon have found other potentially linked health issues that include:
- Liver damage
- Excessive mercury in people’s urine
- Decreased immunity
- Increased cancer risk
- Reproductive damage
Effects Can Linger Years Beyond Exposure
Unfortunately, science has found that the prevalence of oil exposure symptoms doesn’t subside over time. According to an article from Frontiers, they assessed the health of cleanup volunteers exposed to oil both directly after their exposure and 7 years later.
What they’ve found is that even 7 years after exposure, the people that they surveyed continued to display the effects of contact with crude oil.
Protect Yourself and Your Community From Oil Exposure with TAS Environmental Services
Crude oil spills are a threat to anyone involved in the environmental waste cleanup process. However, the experts at TAS Environmental Services have dedicated our equipment and resources to safe, effective cleanup that best preserves the integrity and health of the surrounding community.
We understand that oil spills don’t occur on schedules, and are available to help 24/7. Never wait in the event of a spill. Reach out to TAS Environmental Services immediately.